SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa cargo port of entry stopped two trucks within ten minutes of each other Tuesday, one with packages of cocaine and one with packages of heroin.
“When officers in the cargo environment find narcotics, we generally uncover larger quantities of marijuana hidden in the shipment itself or in the cargo trailer,” said Rosa Hernandez, Port Director for the Otay Mesa Cargo Port of Entry. “This just shows the importance of my officers’ inspections of every shipment, driver, tractor, and trailer.”
Just before 4:30 p.m. on October 21, a 23-year-old Mexican truck driver arrived at the Otay Mesa cargo port of entry in a “bobtail” commercial truck with no trailer or shipment. A CBP officer roving the lanes of trucks waiting for inspection referred the truck and the driver to the dock for a more intensive inspection.
At the dock, CBP officers inspected the truck, and noted signs of tampering. A CBP officer with a human narcotic detector dog screened the vehicle, and the canine alerted to the rear differential.
CBP officers found 18 packages containing almost 47 pounds of cocaine hidden in the differential of the tractor. The cocaine had an estimated street value of $528,750.
A few minutes later, a 30-year-old Mexican truck driver arrived at the same border crossing driving a tractor-trailer with a shipment manifested as televisions. A CBP officer inspecting the driver, truck, and cargo decided to refer the truck and shipment for a non-intrusive inspection using x-ray equipment.
A CBP officer scanned the truck and shipment, and noticed an anomaly underneath the sleeper area of the tractor.
CBP officers found two metal boxes hidden under the sleeper area of the tractor. A CBP officer with a human narcotic detector dog screened the cab, and the canine alerted.
CBP officers opened the metal boxes, and inside, found six packages containing almost 44 pounds of heroin, with an estimated street value of $855,700.In both incidents, CBP officers seized the vehicles and the narcotics. Both drivers were arrested, turned over the agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.